A rotating bed is the center of the action in the newest production by the Ohio University’s Theater Division.
The Ladies Man is the Theater Division’s second production of the year. The racy bedroom farce originally by the famous French playwright Georges Feydeau premieres Wednesday with seven other showings throughout the week.
Set in Paris in 1905, the Ohio Theater cast of eight will be dressed accordingly in costumes that have been in the works since spring, along with the rest of the designs.
“Our cast is really small ... there’s only eight of us. It’s nice. It makes it super intimate and makes the story a little bit easier to follow I think when there’s only like eight characters instead of 12 or so,” Bri McCabe, a senior studying theater performance, said.
McCabe plays Marie, the “saucy” French maid who tries to help out Molineaux, a husband caught in a spider web of lies, she said.
While the production is a very typical slapstick, fast-paced comedy, it does not follow the traditional storyline seen in many of Feydeau’s other well-known sex farces Dennis Delaney, director of The Ladies Man, said.
“It’s unusual in that it isn’t about a cheating husband, it’s about a man whose wife thinks he’s cheating on her except he’s basically just having trouble in bed… I don’t want to give too much away,” Delaney said
Molineaux rolls himself deeper and deeper into a snowball of lies as the play progresses and simultaneously speeds up.
”His wife thinks that he is cheating on her, but he isn’t. But he’s not helping his case and he keeps making it seem like he is,” McCabe said. “I think people will really enjoy it because I’ve seen it probably like 20 times at this point just from being in it and i still think it’s funny It’s a play that never stops moving.”
The fast-paced nature of The Ladies Man took extensive preparation, Delaney said. Actors were expected to use the summer to memorize their lines and come into the school year ready to get down to the details.
“I basically said, you know what, for this play, you need to be coming in off-book. You need to be coming in memorized,” Delaney said. “They were very good about doing that and that really freed us up in being able to be very physical with the action of the play from day one.”
The repetition in rehearsals has allowed for small changes in the landing of jokes to keep each performance slightly different than the one before.
“(We are) always laughing about like, are we taking this too far?" McCabe said “Every time we (rehearse), we just change something a little different in the joke and it’s like, ‘Oh you didn’t do it like that yesterday that’s hilarious,’”
While rehearsing for The Ladies Man, Delaney said, the whole crew often went home exhausted from laughter.
“It’s hard to have much more fun than we’re having,” Delaney said.